Posted by: docdenbow | October 27, 2011

Dandelion Will Make You Wise

Those of you that have ever read any of my more recent blog postings may have noted that I reference that wonderful refreshing drink Dandelion and Burdock on numerous occasions. Like what I imagine is a few people I thought the name that was conjured up in fairly recent times, i.e. the last or  years to give a rustic country feel to a particular type of pop. With this in mind I decided to some extensive research into the matter and collecting my thoughts and considered my options. It was precipitating somewhat heavily so instead of a trip to the very library I opened up Google Chrome on my laptop and at the search prompt typed in “dandelion.”

I discovered from that highly reliable source Wikipedia that it has a complicated name and seeds via what we called “parachutes” when I was a kid. Ah the many happy hours I got getting a bollocking from my Mom for blowing at these “parachutes” in our neatly kept suburban garden. (If there is such a thing in Bilston.) “Yowl av th’ gardin fulla weeds ya littul sod yo” were the happy calls made to me as she hurled any (unbreakable) kitchen utensil in my direction. Oh happy days. But they were intrinsically unpleasant were dandelions, nothing remotely sexy about them. Now buttercups were a whole different ballgame.

We used to hold these toxic little blighters under each others chins to see whether the yellow reflection would conclude whether or not we liked butter. It was funny how this pretty but poisonous little flower always knew that we all liked butter. What was even cleverer about the buttercup was that it allowed you to get close to girls to find out what they smelled like when you were 7 and couldn’t think of any other excuse. Some smelled really nice, some smelled of imperial leather and others just smelled. It was after finding out how they smelled that I lost interest in girls until I was about 13 for I had answered the only relevant question in my twisted little mind.

Again I discovered it was a plant with a complicated Latin name (only the worst plants don’t have Latin names – no plant would be seen out and about with just a name like weed or flower or tree dontcha know) those fiendishly clever Japanese people use it in many of their foods. The clueless Yankees consider it a weed since the French dumped loads of it and left it to run wild (nice one Pierre) and some Swiss bloke invented Velcro because of it. So in conclusion, its food, a source of high irritation to Rednecks and something we use daily. How cool is that?

So based on these fantastic tales what happened to turn these seemingly unconnected plants into a fizzy pop?  Was it some evil genius in a laboratory concocting some fizzed up crap full of E numbers, preservatives and of course sugar cunningly named by brain-dead twerps called Sebastian and Quentin (from marketing naturally)  so that it sound real and “green.”  Well no, it didn’t happen that way – if only because if anyone outside of an Evelyn Waugh novel had been called Sebastian or Quentin they would have:
a) Been kicked senseless by the working class.
b) Disbarred from working in the pop industry. (No I’m not talking about Beat Music here just listen!)
c) I drank it when I was a kid before E numbers had been invented and falling out trees and breaking arms, legs you name it was seen as “character building.”

So my quest for Dandelion and Burdock continued……

This is where it starts to get scary, a quick search of t’internet showed me the contents of a 2 litre bottle of  Dandelion and Burdock bought from that place where when you walk through the door your pounds suddenly increase in value, it’s a bit scary so look away now….

Carbonated Water, Sugar, Malt Extract (Barley), Citric Acid , Natural Flavouring [contain Dandelion and Burdock Extracts] , Preservative (Potassium Sorbate) , Acidity Regulator (Sodium Citrates) , Sweeteners (Sucralose, Acesulfame K) .

So I am right, Dandelion and Burdock is a made up drink in the same way that “Cake” was Chris Morris’ made up drug. They just bung a bit of dandelion and a bit of burdock in there to satisfy trading standards and away to go – kerching. Excessive burping and rotten teeth here we come. Besides that with so little dandelions or burdocks in that evil brew – I feel cheated and abused.

Further research was required, I donned my oilskin Mac, placed my fedora carefully on my head at a stylish angle and waited for it to start raining and for it to go dark so that I could stand under a lampost and smoke a fag.

I was away from my assistant Lenovo (my trusty laptop) for three days – mainly waiting for rain and darkness to coincide. Lenovo had overheated and died (or so I thought) Being a new millennium man I decided to research using the internet on my mobile phone. Good idea but impossible to execute as I can’t see the screen without my glasses and the dog had run off with those and, well, basically eaten them.

I found my spare computer, it runs Linux from a USB stick, hey guess what pop pickers? I couldn’t find the bloody USB stick. After much searching and no little swearing I found it. Oh joy! The dog had chewed that beyond repair and use too. I have others so….I……use……..the………Lenovo……………to ………….load……up……….OH BUGGER! That wasn’t working was it? So in order to calm my shattered nerves I set off to the fridge to get some D & B – but was this chemical concoction safe to drink? Undecided I made do with a cup of Typhoo made in my stainless steel but stylishly filthy teapot drank from favourite cup – also stylish with its chips and cracks and the immortal slogan “a man is as old as the woman he feels.”

I sat back at my desk in the depths of despair. Man’s best friend, the laptop was broked. How was I to get my fix of porn now? The traditional man’s best friend looked at me wagging her tail in between trying to decide whether to chew my glasses or USB stick or move onto something new. In desperation I struck the power button on Lenovo and she burst back into life. She wasn’t dead after all. I was elated but couldn’t work out why it wobbled from side to side whilst I was trying to type into Google. I gently closed her lid and looked underneath. There were 2 deep grooves melted into the plastic base. Perhaps putting on a radiator for 3 days when I went smoking fags under a lampost was not the best of my ideas. I had put her there as it was a little chilly and I had nearly killed her with kindness.

A gently folded blanket under her delicate bottom to make her comfortable, we again set off on our adventure. This is where we made the first of our discoveries. The Rolling Stones had written a song about dandelions called “Dandelion” and made some pretty far out claims – but this was during their flower power flirtation. Have a look at the words…..

“Prince or pauper, beggar man or thing
Play the game with ev’ry flow’r you bring
Dandelion don’t tell no lies
Dandelion will make you wise
Tell me if she laughs or cries
Blow away dandelion”

Wow that’s deep, but they never wrote a song about burdock. They could have couldn’t they. Lazy bastards!

The Artic Monkeys have a song about D & B but they’re crap so I’m going further down that road.

But what of burdock in pop culture – nothing! Bugger all! Zero!

So what really is D & B?

Well the bloke who invented it died years ago. Well I think he did because he invented it in 1200s or so they say. God told him to invent it – so he did – simples. As I hinted at earlier the stuff you get in supermarkets these days is not the real thing but to quote Roger Waters “a very clever forgery.” Can you get the proper stuff, the special stuff? Apparently you can. The best is Fentimans Dandelion & Burdock 750ml –it’s not cheap and has a touch of alcohol in it. Definitely on my shopping list.

So there you are – a tale of pop. Is it true? I’ll leave that for you to decide.

Ciao For Now


Mwah Mwah (to all the ladies)



  1. Well ring a ding ding … who knew ?? Love it ….. am off to order me some of the real stuff ! Swung mostly by the addition of a smidgen of alcohol … huzzah !!!!!

    • well most of it is true….there are some fibs there as well… artistic licence I call it

  2. Fascinating and funny! Can’t stand the stuff myself however. 😉

  3. I love D&B, it’s one of the few drinks I ingest these days that’s alcohol free, but the alcy authentic stuff you mention sounds like a plan. I’m adding to my shopping list too.

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